THE REVIVAL WE NEED
These are the days where praying for revival has all but vanished. Many of my reformed brethren do not even believe in revival. And the church is so comfortable a revival would rock the boat and may result in self denial and sacrifice so our natural instincts are to avoid it or say God can bring it if He so desires. That is the easy way to avoid any spiritual responsibility or have to examine our prayer lives. We can read about several revivals where thousands were swept into the kingdom of God because the church was led to a deep repentance and sought the Lord with all of their hearts. But since we see nothing of the sort today we have stripped God of His power but we are blind to the real problem which is US.
But can you image a greater need for revival in the church than exists today? The church is consumed with the culture and what we can have and achieve within this culture of death. We lay our heads down at night with no conviction and without any pathos for a world hurtling toward a Christless eternity. How can we suggest we are following Jesus when our hearts are so very cold? Please do not suggest that the back and forth trips on Sunday mornings indicate passion for Christ. But here we are, imprisoned by the material temptations and the sensual allurements of this dark world and yet we still go through the motions without even asking “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”
Is this all there is? Is this what satisfies our souls? Do the daily grinds and the redundant ecclesiastical obligations provide the conduit which manifests the revelation of the Risen Christ to a lost and needy world? Can we honestly say before God that the treasure of Christ is illuminating these earthen vessels so that men cannot help but take notice and even inquire as to its source? Let us be painfully honest. The western evangelical church has blended in nicely inside a culture of abject darkness and our lives are consumed with the temporal and by definition are blind to the eternal.
And in light of the desperate predicament in which we find ourselves, the revival we need is much more than more spiritual energy to be infused into a lifeless system. No, this is a revival which must return us literally back to the true faith. We need the heavens to rend and the Spirit of God to once again come into our lives like a mighty rushing river. I am not speaking about the dog and pony shows so often touted as the moving of the Holy Spirit. I speak of an authentic visitation of God’s presence which is so strong, so convicting, and so powerful that it strips us of us and remakes us into His image. And suddenly we no longer find within us the thirst and hunger for anything of this world, but our passion and yes our very life is Christ and Christ alone.
Everything, and I mean everything, will attempt to stop us from that kind of pursuit. Our spouses, our families, our jobs, our hobbies, and everything in this present world will join forces in order to keep us satisfied with the crumbs we now eat. Our focus will continue to be temporal and selfish even while we profess to be following Jesus. The church is not in disarray…it no longer exists. I mean the construct and practices and beliefs of the local gatherings have strayed so far as to be a product of a religious culture rather than the observable glory of the very body of Jesus Christ. It is a place where you may get some good advice and some interesting thoughts about streamlining your life in order to make this culture more advantageous to your existence.
But Jesus and His teachings have given way to an earthly religion which uses His name but rejects and alters His teachings. And although their doctrinal lips embrace Him their hearts are far from Him. And look around and listen. Do you hear church members wail in agony over the situation? Do preachers weep in their pulpits as they beg for a Holy Spirit revival which will crush us in repentance and yet bring forth that which will glorify our Great Redeemer? With the church so worldly, so carnal, so hedonistic, and so lethargic, where are the tear stained altars after fasting and praying at an all night gathering?
If you have dirt on your face you cannot see it until you look in a mirror or until a friend tells you. So unless we open our hearts to the voice of the Spirit and once again search the mirror of the Scriptures looking for Jesus and the teachings that we have come to ignore we cannot be cleansed. When the children of Israel were called out of Babylon and a remnant returned to Jerusalem they discovered a copy of the Torah which had been absent from their lives for many decades they wept and repented before the Lord their God. But more Jews stayed in Babylon because they had become friends with the system. They had raised children, built businesses, purchased homes, and even become friends with the heathen. So most Jews stayed in Babylon.
Today the church wallows in the system of Babylon. This western, capitalist, hedonist, and violent culture is antichrist and presents everything which is against the teachings and example of Jesus. But the church has slowly but surely embraced it and treacherously incorporated it into the faith. What an adulterous generation! How have we accepted a fraud and become content with the periphery of Scripture and not the glowing glory of seeing and embracing and seeking and following the Lord Jesus? It has become a monstrous betrayal of the Son of God driven by the spirit of Judas and not the Spirit of God!
There is a glory and a fresh and all consuming revelation of Jesus that can be found if we are so hungry for it we will not be turned away. If we are willing to sacrifice our time and make that time a relentless prayer time that pursues His face with repentance and self denial then we can find this incomparable treasure. Are we desperate? Are we so thirsty for living water that we cannot be denied? But if we can find the slightest contentment here in this world then the treasure only found in Him will remain buried to our souls.
There have been many, many false revivals. But that does not negate our need for the authentic. In fact, you and I can experience a personal revival even if everyone else is still going through the same redundant motions. All of us are indictable to our God. Are our ears still open and can we still hear the calling of the Spirit? If we have acquired a taste for the leeks and garlic of Egypt then the manna from heaven will never be ours.